Not only is exercise good for kids’ waistlines, but it can also stop bad behavior and boost mental health, a study found.
Regular moderate to vigorous exercise reduced hyperactivity and behavioral problems, such as loss of patience, fighting with other children, lying and stealing in children ages 11 to 13, according to research.
They claim their paper is the first to provide such a comprehensive approach to examining mental health and physical activity in young people.
Children who play sports are less likely to be hyperactive and have behavioral problems such as loss of temper, fighting, lying and stealing, a study finds (stock image)
Diagnoses of behavioral problems like ADHD are widespread among American teens, but getting your kids off their phones and playing outside may be the solution rather than medication.
Sales of ADHD drugs skyrocketed during the pandemic, as many were forced to spend hours indoors thanks to the lockdown and Adderall prescriptions became more easily accessible, leading to continued drug shortages.
The researchers examined data from the Children of the 90s study – also known as the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children – which looked at levels of physical activity in 4,755 11-year-olds in the UK.
The research was carried out by researchers from the universities of Edinburgh, Strathclyde and Bristol in the United Kingdom and Georgia in the United States.
The young people’s movements were measured using devices that recorded levels of moderate physical activity – usually defined as brisk walking or cycling – as well as vigorous activity that stimulates heart rate and breathing, such as aerobic dancing, jogging or swimming.
The youth and their parents also reported their level of depressive symptoms at ages 11 and 13, and parents and teachers were surveyed about the children’s general behavior and emotional problems.
When analyzing the impact of moderate to vigorous physical activity on young people’s mental health and behavior, the team also considered factors such as age, gender and socioeconomic status.
Higher levels of moderate or intense physical activity had a small but detectable association with reductions in depressive symptoms and emotional problems, according to findings published in Mental Health and Physical Activity.
Researchers said the findings suggest regular moderate and intense physical activity may have a small protective impact on mental health in early adolescence.
Professor John Reilly, from the University of Strathclyde, said the results are important as levels of physical activity among adolescents are of concern today.
“The levels of moderate to vigorous activity worldwide are so low in pre-teens worldwide – less than a third are getting the 60 minutes a day recommended by the WHO and UK health departments,” he said.
“While it seems obvious that physical activity improves mental health, the evidence for such a benefit in children and young people is sparse, so the study results are important.”
Dr. Josie Booth, from the University of Edinburgh’s Moray House School of Education and Sport, said: ‘This study adds to the growing evidence base on how important physical activity is for all aspects of young people’s development.
“It can help them feel better and do better in school.”
She added: ‘Supporting young people to lead healthy and active lives should be a priority.’
Adderall is the most popular ADHD drug in the US, with prescriptions rising to 41 million by 2021, a 10 percent increase from the previous year.
This includes millions of children and young adults. It is estimated that up to 10 percent of school children are on drugs, as well as a third of students.
Online pharmacies sent prescriptions of the drug during the Covid pandemic, when many Americans turned to help them cope with the pressure.
But now demand has outstripped supply, with doctors reporting that they now have to spend hours every day calling pharmacies to get the drug.
The problem is unique to the US, with many other countries having much lower rates of ADHD in children.
They also often choose an alternative drug, Ritalin, to treat patients.
Teenage girls who exercise every day show better attention spans
Teenage girls who exercise every day have better attention spans than their peers, a study suggests.
A University of Illinois research team found that girls who exercised less were slower and less accurate on tests that ignored distracting information.
During and after exercise, more blood flows to the brain, boosting executive functions, including a person’s attention span.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition that includes attention problems, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
The disorder is much less commonly diagnosed in girls than boys, and some women are not diagnosed until they reach adulthood.
ADHD prevalence varies widely between the UK and the US, raising questions about whether the rates are as high as the diagnoses claim.
Between 2016 and 2019, 13 percent of American children ages 12-17 were diagnosed with ADHD.
In comparable countries such as the UK, ADHD rates are much lower – about 4 percent of boys and 1 percent of girls.
This is combined with the more sedentary lifestyle of American children, which also caused the obesity crisis.
Many minors with ADHD have other conditions, including learning disabilities, anxiety, and depression.
Adderall is the most popular ADHD drug. The number of prescriptions rose to 4.1 million in 2021, a 10 percent increase from the previous year.